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Spring 2007
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STDBonline Uses GIS to Help 17,000 CCIM Members

Real Estate Experts Stay Informed Through Web GIS

Highlights

  • Online mapping aids analysis of market potential.
  • Members instantly visualize critical information.
  • Business Analyst Online provides more accurate, current data.
  click to enlarge
STDBonline gives users instant access to the information they need to analyze market potential and perform site analysis.

Located in Chicago, Illinois, STDB, Inc., operates Site To Do Business Online (STDBonline), an online service and comprehensive Web site for more than 17,000 members of the Certified Commercial Investment Members (CCIM) Institute. The CCIM Institute is the governing body of the largest commercial real estate network in the world. STDBonline (www.stdbonline.com) is a valuable resource for these commercial and investment real estate experts as it gives them the information they need to more profitably analyze market potential and trends. These resources are also used to reduce due diligence time and costs and improve the quality and accountability of the decision-making processes.

Several years ago, STDBonline implemented its initial mapping interface to its Web site using an open-source product. In the long run, the information on the site required extensive time, money, and resources to be expended on continued and future enhancements and support of the system. Because STDBonline is committed to maintaining the best and most current solutions on its Web site, a better solution was needed.

As STDB searched for a new online mapping solution, the company realized it needed a more mapcentric platform with easy-to-use tools. The existing system used text boxes and an interface that was not intuitive and involved multiple steps. Users sometimes received the wrong results and became frustrated with the process. Use of the site also required extensive training and support, which created a long-term problem for the company.

STDB was concerned that developing and integrating a mapping program would be expensive and time consuming. It was also not at the core of the company's business. STDB looked for an intuitive, mapcentric solution that could be tailored to the workflow and needs of the commercial real estate community. It needed to find a solution that provided faster access to critical information the members wanted and needed for their business.

After researching solutions available in the market, the company decided to work with Esri, replacing its legacy product with Business Analyst Online, which combines GIS technology and direct access to data and content derived from dozens of commercial providers for demographic, consumer spending, and business data. The data can be used in more than 100 reports. Maps also can be accessed over the Internet. The data is updated annually so STDBonline has access, via redundant collocation facilities across the United States, to terabytes of the most current and accurate information, without STDB having to host or manage the system.

STDBonline users have found the extensive backdrop data, aerial photographs, and flood maps, click to enlargealong with the demographic, consumer spending, and business information, especially helpful. The company also relies on market analysis templates for multifamily, retail, office, and industrial properties for the portal.

The service was built and launched without having to install or maintain additional mapping software, data, or hardware on STDBonline, which would have been cost prohibitive for STDB. Finding a solution partner who had the infrastructure in place to provide these comprehensive services freed STDB to include this new, innovative technology and data without losing focus of its core competencies.

STDBonline gives users instant access to the information they need to analyze market potential and perform site analysis. STDBonline users can access maps by looking up a particular address or selecting an individual site using interactive navigation tools. Once an area of interest has been selected, users can develop a property profile for a particular project, compare the characteristics of several potential sites, or learn more about the market specifics. Users can access more than 100 additional reports and dedicated services that are designed to help them be successful in their commercial real estate profession.

The new site analysis functions on STDBonline include several methods for defining and analyzing market areas around a particular site. Users may select a state, county, or ZIP Code; define multiple rings of influence around a certain point or address; calculate travel times based on the road network; or interactively draw a custom area directly on the on-screen map. Users can fine-tune and preview their selection at any time. Users can generate detailed reports that ensure they have optimized their selection and will gain the greatest insight into the potential of their commercial development.

STDBonline users may also create a customized package of reports, maps, and charts or opt to use an express package of the most popular demographic reports, maps, and market analysis for their study areas. Reports can be sent to a predefined e-mail address, delivered to a user's desktop, or stored on the server for subsequent download. Multiple reports can be stored for each project, and because users have full control of how projects are created and the reports they contain, STDBonline can be quickly configured to reflect a user's specific workload and activities.

The new STDBonline was created quickly; just 60 days from the initial contract signing, the phase I site was launched.

STDB is confident that Business Analyst Online will keep its users current with online mapping developments through regular updates and ongoing enhancements to the portal without the cost, management overhead, or risks of maintaining the systems in-house.

"I love the ability that the new STDBonline gives me to obtain better and more current data," says Donald S. Huddleston, a CCIM Institute member from Village Square Realty in Spokane, Washington. "And it is packaged in a much easier and more efficient fashion using state-of-the-art, mapcentric methods."

The new STDBonline is helping its users grow their businesses, profit, and succeed with the most powerful tools available to them by providing instant access to the information they need to better analyze market potential and trends.

"Working with a mapping environment makes it easy for me to understand how to accomplish things quickly and easily," says Karl Landreneau, a CCIM Institute member and associate with RE/MAX First Commercial in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. "With only moderate computer skills, I can get quick results I can rely on. It's like having an entire research department in my office without costing me money."

More Information

For more information, contact Tracy Thomas, STDBonline (e-mail: tracy@stdbonline.com).

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